Meet Willie Reed


Willie Reed is one of the two players (Brice Johnson being the other) that the Pistons got along with Blake Griffin from the Clippers in the blockbuster deal.

Who is Willie Reed?

Willie Reed is a 27-year-old, 6 ft 11 inch, 245-pound center hailing from Kansas City. He attended St. Louis University but had a troublesome time there. He had problems with the school after being connected to a controversial sexual assault incident involving three players. The incident is cloudy, as they so often are, but charges were never filed, and Reed maintained from the first moment that he was not involved. (For what its worth, he doesn't think his teammates assaulted the woman, either.) So that isn't a pleasant thing to discover when looking at a new player. Make of it what you will. Although Reed was connected to the event (but never charged), he still missed time with the basketball team. After returning, he failed to meet student obligations, leading him to declare for the NBA draft after his sophomore season.

Reed bounced around the G-League until three years ago, when the Nets gave him some playing time at age 25. He spent last season in Miami, playing the majority of their backup center minutes, and has been with the Clippers this year. Reed is currently on a one-year contract worth $1.5 million.

Where does he fit on the Pistons

At the very least, Reed will compete with Eric Moreland for backup center minutes -- a competition he will most likely win. He does not have the versatility to play any other position. Ideally, he can fill in the rest of the season to stabilize the backup center minutes until Jon Leuer can return next year.

Offensively

To be clear, Willie Reed is not any sort of an offensive power-house. But when compared with Eric Moreland he kind of looks like it. Per-36 minutes, Moreland is scoring just 4.8 points; Reed, on the other hand, is at 16.6 points. Reed has a nice touch at the rim and is smart about slipping into positions where he can get some space, freeing him to receive passes along the baseline. He also possesses a decent hook/push shot that can extend his range out a short distance from the hoop. The only area where he may not be an improvement over Moreland is in his passing, but the Clippers asked him to do very little in that regard, so maybe he can do that too.

Defensively

It's hard to say exactly. I haven't watched Willie Reed all that closely, and I can't just look up highlights of him executing rotations and demonstrating nice verticality. Based on the few Clippers games I watched (I only really watched to see Blake Griffin), he seems like an acceptable defender. He is pretty tall and long, combined with being a decent athlete who usually knows where to be. He will probably be a bit of a downgrade defensively from Moreland but not by a lot. He certainly doesn't have Moreland's timing and instincts for blocking shots.

Best case scenario

He takes over the backup center minutes and plays the best ball of his career, which takes those minutes from being a big weakness for the Pistons to a strength. After helping the Pistons make a deep playoff run, he leaves on good terms for a larger contract somewhere else. Then Jon Leuer can return healthy next year and plays at a high level off the bench.

Worst case scenario

He isn't an improvement over Moreland. He gets minutes occasionally but doesn't move the needle at all. Backup center remains a hole for the Pistons, and they let him go after the season.

The Verdict

I mean, obviously, he isn't going to move the needle much either way. That said, as far as "add-ons" to a big trade go, Reed is a pretty nice piece for the Pistons. If they had done a smaller trade just to get Reed, I would have been pretty pleased with him. I think he is quite a bit better than Moreland, so he should ensure the backup center position is not such a black hole for the Pistons. He will almost certainly be on the team only one year, however, which is fine.

What do you think? Will Reed be better than Moreland?

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